Sabres Smart To bring in LaFontaine and Nolan
This is exactly what the Buffalo Sabres did today when they let go their current head coach Ron Rolston and team general manager Darcy Regier. Replacing Rolston is former Sabres' head coach Ted Nolan, who had success with the team in the mid 90's.
For a team that is currently last in the entire league, the hiring of Nolan might just be what the team needs to get things back on the right track. Nolan is a hard-nosed coach who knows how to get the most out of his players, knows how to change the culture of a team and more importantly, knows how to win.
This is exactly what Nolan did when he was the team's coach from 1995-97. In his two seasons with the club, he won a Northeast Division title (1997), a Jack Adams Award as the league's coach of the year (1997), and got his team into the second round of the postseason (1997).
Nolan is someone who knows how to work with rebuilding hockey teams, which is exactly what the Sabres are. The team may not know what direction they are going in but with Nolan back at the helm, they will figure it out and stick with it in order to establish some consistency.
Also coming into the franchise as its new president is former Sabres' great and Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine. This may be LaFontaine's first go at a position like this but he seems to know what it takes to win on a consistent basis on this league and is going to work hard at finding the right recipe for this team to have success going forward.
LaFontaine is going to be busy from the get-go as he not only has to search for a new general manager, but also has to decide what to do with franchise goaltender Ryan Miller. Once those two decisions are made, it will be easy to see what direction the Sabres are going to go in as a franchise.
The Sabres may have a long way to go when it comes to establishing themselves as a winning franchise but with LaFontaine and Nolan back in the organization, that road just might have become easier.